Archive for the ‘puppetry’ Category

We recently visited the Center for Puppetry Arts in downtown Atlanta. It’s been forever since I’ve been there, even though I am so into puppet ministry and have directed teams for years and years.

It was really fun, professional and something I want to go to again, soon! We saw “Winnie-the-Pooh”which was done with a dark stage atmosphere in which puppeteers, dressed in black, were hidden from view. They brought their puppets into narrowly focused areas of light, causing them to look surprisingly life-like. Additionally, puppeteers used their own voices, live- and did a tremendous job! I thoroughly enjoyed their presentation.

One of the main reasons I wanted to see this specific show is our friend, Raymond Carr, was one of the puppeteers. He brought Christopher Robin and Rabbit to life in the program. He was awesome! Afterwards, Raymond took us on a backstage tour which was very fun and interesting. One thing I could tell is they had a place for every prop and puppet, which certainly contributed to the smoothness of the production.

Raymond is pictured second from the left. Click here and then scroll to page four to see more about Raymond.

Immediately after I flashed my camera to get this picture, an usher and his flashlight was completely in my face telling me to put down my camera. I didn’t know pictures couldn’t be taken- and the show was obviously over, for goodness sakes! Oh well. I’ll know next time.

We also went through the Jim Henson: Puppeteer exhibit which was very interesting, especially the video retrospect featuring some of Jim’s shows; showcasing his incredible creativity and groundbreaking family entertainment ideas. We also walked through the permanent exhibit, Puppets: The Power of Wonder. I remembered that sometimes people consider puppets to be kind of scary and weird- and some of these definitely were:

Look at the faces of my family in these shots:

You wouldn’t really think they were looking at this animatronic puppet, would you?


A surprisingly fun part of admittance to the Center is a “Create-A-Puppet Workshop.” Each one of us, from the adults in our group, right down to the little-bitty kids made a Winnie the Pooh (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) puppet. Here’s mine. He’s lovely isn’t he? I know you could tell right off the bat that he is Winnie-The-Pooh.

The fun part was that they had a one-level stage set up so you could perform “onstage” with your own puppet (like I would be doing that!!) But Nora and Lydia, who are already seasoned puppeteers, loved it! They were sooooo cute!

Anyway, I highly recommend the Center for Puppetry Arts. Raymond also said to not miss the upcoming show: Duke Ellington’s Cat. It is a blacklight puppetry show debuting on January 10, 2008. Let me know if you want to go!!


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I’ve been at the Indianapolis Puppet Festival for the last couple of days. It was a good weekend of sharing, teaching and inspiration- rubbing shoulders with people who are serving God with creative means mostly with puppets. I judged two competitions, taught three workshops, helped to close the conference with a devotional thought and prayer time and worked the sales table in between. It’s always good to see and re-connect with puppetry and ministry friends at the festivals!

Right now I’m sitting in the Indianapolis airport. It’s early in the morning and it’s just starting to come alive. In watching people come and go, the interesting thing this entire weekend- and today in the airport is no exception- is the Future Farmers of America. Their annual conference or gathering of some sort was also this weekend in Indianapolis; causing us to have to stay in an out of the way hotel that was not exactly my top choice of lodging- because their group had practically sold out the entire city. They said 60,000 people gathered here this weekend for this event. I didn’t kow FFA was such a big thing! Anyway, from what I’ve observed, an FFA member can be readily identified by their patch-laden, embroidered, navy blue codouroy, bomber-style jacket- worn by both males and females. Also for boys, cowboy boots seems to be the footwear of choice. Interestingly, however, is the wholesome, down-to-earth persona the kids exude. It kind of makes me hopeful about America if the FFA kids represent the heartland, the mainstream of America.

 Traveling is good. It allows you to see and experience something outside your normal view and remember that it’s a great big world out there.

In the meantime, though, I can’t wait to get home….

I just searched out FFA online- and I am impressed by their standards, their organization and the leadership possibilities for kids. However, their dress code is kind of quaint. I guess that’s why they stand out in a crowd, literally!

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Tonight was our second week of practice. You can tell these are little girls! We have six 5th and 6th graders and one 9th grader (don’t ask!) Here are a couple of photos from the first practice. Seasoned puppeteers- you can see we made “eyeballs” for practice. We’ve used them, as well as real puppets both weeks- and Julie and I think we can already see a little improvement! The girls are really excited- and we’ve got big plans to prepare and present a song in Kids Club a month from now. It’s going to be a fun process, we hope!

We do have some “eye contact” problems, as you can see!

      Our big topic of discussion tonight was changing the meaning of “M&M Puppeteers.”  We’ve done it once before in our team’s history. It seems like the right time to do it again. We’ve got a few ideas for the “M” words:


 Manos (Spanish for hands)



I like keeping the word “master” in our name, based on continuing to use Colossians 3:23-24 as one of our key verses:

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

What do you think? Any suggestions?



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It’s been over a week since I even opened this blog. I have been busy, busy, busy. Not at home much. And my brain has been too full! So, to catch up, here’s an alphabetical list of some of the stuff I’ve been doing!!

Amanda- she constantly “saves my neck”; as in performing with her puppet Vicki to lead into my devotion at the conference (see “V” and “D”) Also as in serving on a Family in Ministry panel with me.

Birthday, as in Jason’s 27th!

Coaching and Consulting by Ministry Ventures

Devotions at the conference (see “N”)

Excitement! The new TV season is coming up. Watched my first shows of the season- Prison Break. It was a little stronger than I was expecting! And Biggest Loser. I liked it!

Flex Points have now been expanded to PowerFlex- new test program at my Weight Watchers center. Sounds interesting.

Gazillion- the number of e-mails sent back and forth this week in preparation for the conference (see “N”)

Homework from my non-profit coach/consultant- and it’s hard! (see “C”)

IRS: They’re waiting for me to submit names of new SqPeg board members. I’m waiting to hear back from a couple more potential members first!

Jason- the birthday boy! (see “B”) 9-16

Kids Club- I missed it this week due to the conference (see “N”) Jason, Brandy, Kristen    and Julie held down the fort just fine, though! Jonathan, too, I heard.

Lunch with Meredith and Kristen. They forgot to seat Meredith!!! Also lunch with Brenda- long time no see!!

M&M Puppeteers: practice and upcoming reunion dinner and 20th Anniversary performance!

North Georgia Church of God Children’s Leaders Conference. I serve on the conference committee, taught two classes- both new to me- operated two booths; SqPeg and One Way Street and moderated one of the General Sessions. Thanks Amanda, Staci, Kristen, Darrell, Jason, Brandy, Jonathan, Julie and committee!

Oh my goodness. What were getting ourselves into with the M&M Puppeteer reunion performance??

Puppet props, costumes, choregraphy and practice


Red Lobster- yummy lunch (see “L”)

Shopping for props, costumes and supplies (see “P”)

Tutoring and Homework Help at our SqPeg ministry apartment


Vicki- she is too funny! (see “A”)

Weight Watchers- Yes, I’m back at it. I’ve lost 6 pounds this month!


Yamato- where we celebrated Jason’s birthday- Good idea, Brandy! (see “B”)

Zooming around (see every letter above)

Somehow, Nora and Lydia didn’t make this list- but not because they shouldn’t have! Lydia and I have been doing lots of “puppets.” And Nora is my partner at Tutoring/Homework Help each week. They make my day, week, month, year, life- regardless of what letter of the alphabet they fit into!!

*I’m sure something happened as related to these letters, too….

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I mean, M&Ms doing puppets?! I had to add this to my blog, especially in light of the M&M Puppeteers 20th Anniversary!

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Whew, I just got back from Mobile, AL. I was teaching and working at a one-day puppetry event, Summerfest, which One Way Street hosts during the summer only (good name!) For those of you who know the puppet festival format, there are a few differences. Like I said, it’s Saturday only instead of Friday night and Saturday. Summerfests are usually smaller- in areas where OWS is trying to build up their base. And they don’t give awards for competition, except for a People’s Choice award. However, the winning team does get $50 worth of merchandise- so that’s not bad. Since the Sumerfests are smaller, so is the staff. This weekend, there were 225 attendees and we had 4 staff plus the hostess and her team. We worked mighty hard to keep everything going.

I taught three workshops:

Puppet Team Devotions- how to put ministry at the heart of your team

Children’s Church for the Klutz- oh, I love this workshop- even with its crazy name. It’s not a resources or how-to-do-Children’s-Church workshop; but rather, how to lay a biblical, spiritual, worshipful foundation in raising children up through Children’s Church.

Blacklight Puppetry- not my favorite because I have to drag a lot of stuff with me- but puppet teams need to know how to do it!

I also judged the competition. I like to judge competitions, but sometimes they can get a bit boring if there are a lot of “bronze medal” level performances. However, at this festival, one of the songs was one of the best songs I have seen in a long time. It was performed by a small, mostly family team from Mobile, Alabama. The song they did was “Jesus Is Still Alright” by DC Talk. A 16 year old boy on their team choreographed it, made all the props and even made a moving mouth puppet out of foam noodles. I told them they should be very proud of their efforts- because it was a great performance. I loved it…and I would love to grab hold of that puppeteer!

I also had to open the conference with a devotion that I didn’t know I was doing until during the trip down there via a message on my cell phone!

On Friday before I traveled down to  Mobile, I had a two hour committee meeting for another ministry in which I am involved; then I drove the 6 hours to Mobile and stayed up late printing handouts for my workshops and planning the morning devotion. By the time the whole thing was done about 5 PM central time, I could not drive all the way home. I drove to Montgomery, approximately 3 hours and spent the night. I was almost sick by the time I got there- just worn out, you know. The next morning I got up in time to drive to Atlanta (remembering the change from Central to Eastern time!) and then met Darrell at the Fox Theatre to see Shrek the Third at the Fox Family Film Festival. It was fun. I only slept through about a third of it, which for me, is typical, regardless of driving 12 hours in two days and working a 10 hour festival! After we got home from the movie, I took about a two hour nap, was up for about three hours and then got a good night’s sleep. So, I felt almost normal today!

Anyway, once again….there’s no place like home!!

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On television, it was the end of some TV shows: Dance Fever, The A Team, Remington Steele, Fraggle Rock and Welcome to Pooh Corner all went off the air in 1987. Oh well.

On the other hand, TV exec’s had some new shows to introduce in 1987: TeenAge Mutant Ninja Turtles, Colby’s Clubhouse and Ducktales were some of them.

But most notably, in my mind, anyway, 1987 is the year Live with Regis and Kathie Lee went nationwide. Not long after, I became a “hooked” viewer and have basically watched it ever since- especially since we’ve had TiVO! Of course, Kathie Lee left the show after 15 years. I absolutely hated it when she did. However, her replacement Kelly, has been great- and I love her on the show as well. I kind of enjoyed Kathie Lee a little better. She and I are more in the same age group- and she is a believer- but Kelly is funny and down-to-earth. The glue that holds it all together anyway, is Regis.  As long as he is there, any co-host will shine! The big news is that as part of the 20 year anniversary, Kathie Lee will return as a guest on September 14. I’m really excited- it will be fun to see her with Regis again. Plus, starting September 4, Live with Regis and Kelly is giving away 20 mini-vans in 20 days as part of the 20 Year celebration. Not bad!

Here are some pictures of Regis (and his lovely wife, Joy):


However, there is a bigger 20 year anniversary than Live with Regis and Kelly. It’s the 20 year anniversary of the M&M Puppeteers!! You’ve not heard of them, you say? Well, this is a team of people with a common goal of expanding God’s Kingdom using puppets. And have we done that! It’s been a long, fruitful and fun 20 years. And we’re celebrating with a reunion dinner as well as an anniversary performance at the Atlanta Puppet Festival. Check here  for more info.

Hey, we’re not giving away 20 minivans- but everyone who gets involved will for sure get some M&Ms! Here’s some M&Ms fun for you right now!!


This is an M&M commercial from about 20 years ago. It’s a good thing they’ve hired some new ad designers, don’t you think?

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